With their 2005 debut, Nine Times the Same Song, Sweden’s Love Is All unleashed a tilted whirl of pop frenzy and punkish squeal with an infectiousness matched only by its brevity: 10 songs jacked up on the joy of making something out of nothing, the cogs spinning at a furious pace and wrapping up in just over a half-hour. Coupling a somewhat slapdash cadence with an ear to the C86 (or, more accurately, C81) tradition, the band’s first foray resonated with the sound of anterior DIY aesthetes, while at the same time appealing to the au courant underground.
Taking their time on a follow-up (the Swedes seem to work on a different timetable than the rest of us), Love Is All have resurfaced with a record made from the same flotsam and jetsam as their predecessor. With A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night, the band flips the script found on the debut in songs like “Busy Doing Nothing” while continuing to filter their manic pop thrills through X-Ray Spex. Instead of finding ways to fill too much free time, this time they’re railing against suffocation-by-lethargy, most noticeably via the appropriately topsy-turvy “Sea Sick,” on which singer Josephine Olausson shrieks, “I’m bored to death! I’m bored as shit!” Similarly, on the razor-cut disco ditty “Last Choice,” she reluctantly hauls home the scraps at an ill-fated party: “I’m not your kind and you’re not mine/But for tonight you’ll have to do just fine.” But Love Is All’s boisterous clamor is the real draw here. The band skips over cerebral tricks and hep posturing, instead going straight for adrenalized kicks, and it’s a rush that lasts long after the record ends.
Love Is All play the Bowery Ballroom December 7
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 19, 2008